Bethan Fagan

Junior Consultation to take place at National Junior Championships

by Justine Baynes, CEO of British Wheelchair Basketball

I am delighted to announce that British Wheelchair Basketball is launching a major review into our Junior programme, with the intention of creating an experience for our young athletes that will help them get the very best out of our sport. We recognise that the number of athletes under the age of 18 has declined by around 40% over the last five years and we need to take steps to reverse that. We want to grow the number of young people enjoying our sport, both at grassroots level and through our high performance pathways.

The review will be conducted by an independent organisation, Enlightful, and will be split into two parts. The first part is a consultation that we are launching at our National Junior Championships in Worcester this weekend (5th-6th August 2023). We will be running sessions for U18 and U14 players, coaches, officials, pathway staff from Home Nations and parents.

We will also be running focus groups with BWB staff, DiSE athletes and coaches, technical officials, Inspire A Generation delivery partners, current GB academy players throughout August. We will also talk to those who have left the sport to understand why they made that decision and what we could have done differently. All BWB members will also have the chance to contribute via an online questionnaire that will be sent to every member.

This insight will inform a greater understand of the current athlete experience, provide an informed view of what best practice might look like over the next ten years and create recommendations for how we can develop the experience at all levels for young athletes. It will also include recommendations for communication channels and styles.

To sum it up, this review will enable us to work with our U18 community to co-create a system where we can provide the right opportunities for those athletes, parents, coaches and everyone involved to get the most out of our sport. It is important to us that we don’t just impose a new system, but that we listen to what the community wants and needs. We want to create an experience together that will support all young athletes in our sport so that everyone has a positive experience from wheelchair basketball.

Please do engage with the team from Enlightful on this process – it will only work if you add your voice.

The second part of the process is that we will take the recommendations and implement them. We will share with you what these recommendations are and how and when they will be implemented.

This review has been made possible by a grant from the Commonwealth Games Legacy Fund and we are grateful to them for supporting the project.

National Junior Championships takes place 5th-6th August in Worcester – find out more: https://britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/junior-championships-2023/

GB squads announced for the 2023 IWBF European Championships

The GB Men’s and GB Women’s squads have been announced for the fast-approaching 2023 IWBF European Championships.

For the first time, the IWBF European Championships will be hosted at the inaugural European Para Championships, an exciting multi-sport event taking place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The competition begins 11th August and will conclude 19th August.

This event is an important milestone in the road to Paris 2024 for both squads as two Paralympic qualification slots are up for grabs in both the Men’s and Women’s competitions.

The GB Men’s team is unchanged from the squad who competed at the IWBF World Championships 2022 (held in 2023) earlier this year. Bill Johnson and Joey Johnson continue to build momentum as the coaching team for GB Men.

The GB Women’s team sees key changes to their line-up from the Worlds 2022 squad, with Head Coach Miguel Vaquero Maestre leading the charge on preparing the team.

Anastasia Blease receives her first senior international call up. Blease was part of the Loughborough Lightning team that won the 2023 season of the Women’s Premier League. After a period of reflection and a break from the sport, Robyn Love made herself available for selection. Laurie Williams returns to GB Women, having recovered well following the birth of her and partner Robyn’s daughter Alba. 

Players medically unavailable for selection include Amy Conroy, Gaz Choudhry, Abdi Jama, Jude Hamer and Maddie Thompson.

GB Men

#5 – Simon Brown – 2.0

#6 – Kyle Marsh – 2.0

#7 – Terry Bywater – 4.5

#9 – Harry Brown – 2.5

#11 – Phil Pratt – 3.0

#12 – Gregg Warburton – 2.0

#13 – Martin Edwards – 4.0

#14 – Lee Manning – 4.5

#15 – Ben Fox – 3.5

#16 – Jim Palmer – 1.0

#17 – James MacSorley – 2.0

#18 – Lee Fryer – 4.0

GB Women

#4 – Charlotte Moore – 1.0

#5 – Sophie Carrigill – 1.0

#6 – Kayla Bell – 1.5

#7 – Helen Freeman – 4.0

#8 – Laurie Williams – 2.5

#10 – Anastasia Blease – 3.5

#12 – Lucy Robinson – 4.5

#13 – Siobhán Fitzpatrick – 3.0

#14 – Joy Haizelden – 2.5

#15 – Robyn Love – 3.5

#16 – Jade Atkin – 4.5

#17 – Maddie Martin – 3.5

Cheer on the GB Men and GB Women as they compete at the European Championships! We’ll be covering all the action on our dedicated GB Fanzone: https://britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/fan-zone/iwbf-european-championships-2023/

The European Para Championships will be streaming every game on their dedicated website. Find out more about the EPC2023 here: https://europeanparachampionships.com/

Three BWB ITOs selected to represent Great Britain at the European Championships 2023

British Wheelchair Basketball are proud to announce that three International Technical Officials (ITOs) will represent Great Britain at the upcoming European Championships. The prestigious competition takes place at the inaugural European Para Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands. 

+ Janine Timms – Games Commissioner 

+ Frances Kremarik – Referee 

+ Christopher Stainton – Referee 

Janine, Frances and Christopher each have vast experience of the game at both domestic and international levels. 

The European Championships will feature eighteen national teams in total – twelve men’s and six women’s teams. The first games get underway on Friday 11th August.

CEO of British Wheelchair Basketball Justine Baynes commented:  

“I am delighted to see that three of our ITOs are going to be in action at the European Championships in Rotterdam. We are proud both to have such a high standard of officiating in this country and to have this recognised on an international level. I look forward to seeing Jan, Frances and Chris in action! ” 

We’ll be covering all the action on our dedicated GB Fanzone: https://britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/fan-zone/iwbf-european-championships-2023/  

The European Para Championships will be streaming every game on their dedicated website. Find out more about the EPC2023 here: https://europeanparachampionships.com/  

Teams confirmed for the Kukri National Junior Championships 2023

The Kukri National Junior Championships returns on the 5th and 6th August, taking place at the University of Worcester Arena. An integral part of the talent pathway, this competition is a showcase for the best talent across the country in U14s and U18s.

The U18’s competition consists of teams from the three regional hubs across England, and Scotland and Wales.

The U14s competition will be comprised of regional associations, Home Nations and clubs. The competition will be in the 4v4 format and have no classification in place to encourage as many teams to attend the event as possible.

We are delighted to have five teams in the U18s competition and eight in the U14s, providing a competitive and fun environment for the youngest participants in our sport.

U18s Competition – team list

Wales

Scotland

England – North

England – Central

England – South

U14s Competition – team list

Pool A Pool B
WalesCymru
Dreigiau CymruBears Cubs
Scotland WhiteScotland Blue
YorkshireMohawks

Entry is free for spectators. See the full schedule on the dedicated Kukri National Junior Championships 2023 page: https://britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/junior-championships-2023/

National League 2022/23 Coaches and Players of the year!

We’re pleased to announce the coaches and players of the year for the 2022/23 season, as voted for by teams across the league.

Premier Division
Coach: Matt Sealy – London Titans
Player: Jack Perry – London Titans

Women’s Premier League
Coach: George Bates – Loughborough Lightning
Player: Jade Atkin – Cardiff Met Archers

Division 1 – North
Coach: Mike Hayes – North Wales Knights
Player: Thomas Harvey – Mohawks

Division 1 – South
Coach: Jack Davey – Exeter Otters
Player: Joe Bestwick – Jaguars

Division 2 – North
Coach: Lee Powell – The Bears
Player: Darren Peasley – The Bears

Division 2 – South
Coach: Oscar Knight – Plymouth Fusion
Player: Leanna Adams – Aces

Division 3 – North
Coach: Mike Hayes – North Wales Knights
Player: Oliver Porter – Mohawks

Division 3 – Central
Coach: Sam Lewis – CWBA 4
Player: Kamari Parker – The Bears

Division 3 – South
Coach: Andy White – Aces
Player: Chloe Fiveash – Southern Sharks

Junior League
Coach: Zviko Chigumba – Aces
Player: Daniel McLaughlin – Scottish Wizards

Women’s League Division 1
Coach: Ally Hope – CWBA
Player: Sam Hill – Wakefield Whirlwinds

Women’s League Division 2
Coach: Alex Johnson – Bath Romans
Player: Brooke Mottram

National League structure for 2023/24 season announced

Preparations are well underway ahead of the 2023-24 National League season, with teams across the country working hard through the summer off-season to ready themselves for the challenges ahead.

BWB are pleased to confirm the league structure for the Premier Division, Divisions 1 – 3, Women’s League, and Junior League in the 2023/2024 season – see below:

Premier Division
Jaguars
London Titans
Manchester Revolution
Mohawks
Plymouth Fusion
Sheffield Steelers

Division 1 North
Lothian Phoenix
Mohawks 2
Mohawks 3
Northern Ireland Academy
Sheffield Steelers 2
Wakefield Whirlwinds 1
Wakefield Whirlwinds 2

Division 1 South
Aces
Cardiff Met Archers
CWBA 2
High Rollers
London Titans 2
Reading Rockets
Southern Sharks
The Bears

Division 2 North
North Wales Knights
Jaguars 2
Manchester Revolution 2
Mohawks 4
Lothian Phoenix 2
Leicester Cobras

Division 2 South
Exeter Otters
Plymouth Fusion 2
Reading Rockets 2
Blackhawks
London Titans 3
Brixton Ballers
Aces 2

Division 3 North
Lancaster Bulldogs
Southport
North East Warriors
Lothian Phoenix 3
Wakefield Whirlwinds 3
Sheffield Steelers 3

Division 3 Central
North Wales Knights 2
CWBA 3
CWBA 4
Leicester Cobras 2
Stoke Spitfires
Swansea Storm
The Bears 2

Division 3 South
Southern Sharks 2
Cardiff Met Archers 2
Folkestone Arrows
Hampshire Harriers
Hereward Heat
London Titans 4
Thames Valley Kings

Women’s League Division 1
CWBA
Cardiff Met
Leicester Cobras
London Titans
Mohawks
Sheffield Steelers
Wakefield Whirlwinds

Women’s League Division 2
Bath Romans
Eastern Blue Stars
Ireland Women
Mohawks 2
Northern Ireland
Sparrows
Swansea Storm
The Bears
Wakefield Whirlwinds 2

Junior League South
Aberystwyth
Aces
London Titans
Swansea Storm

Junior League North
Lothian Phoenix
Mohawks
The Bears
Wakefield Whirlwinds

Interested in getting involved in wheelchair basketball? Use the BWB Club Finder to see which club is nearest to you: https://britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/get-involved/play/club-finder/

Edited to reflect CWBA’s withdrawal from the Premier Division for the 23/24 season

Trials for Kukri National Junior Championships U18 England Regional Teams

Ahead of the upcoming Kukri National Junior Championships, trials are being held for the three regional England U18 teams – Northern, Central and South.

Coaches are encouraged to discuss the trials with young athletes in their club. Players can attend one of the three open trials across the country.

Players wanting to trial are required to have 2022/2023 Junior Membership and a 2022/2023 Player License. Prior to attending, players must sign up on the corresponding Playwaze activity (see below)

Hub: North
Date: Sunday 23rd July 2023
Time: 11am – 2pm
Venue: Durham University – The Graham Sports Centre. Maiden Castle. Durham, DH1 3SE
Sign up: https://bwb.playwaze.com/activity/corh35n4y4/session-display?eventId=PhysicalEvents/50337-C

Hub: Central
Date: Saturday 22nd July 2023
Time: 12pm – 3pm
Venue: Nottingham Wildcats Arena – Greenwood Road, Nottingham, NG3 7EB
Sign up: https://bwb.playwaze.com/activity/corh35n4y4/session-display?eventId=PhysicalEvents/50338-C

Hub: South
Date: Sunday 23rd July 2023
Time: 12:30pm – 3:30pm
Venue: UEL SportsDock, University Way 4-6, London, E16 2RD
Sign up: https://bwb.playwaze.com/activity/corh35n4y4/session-display?eventId=PhysicalEvents/50339-C  

Information on the pathways for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as information on the competition itself, can be found here: https://britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/junior-championships-2023/

Applications for DiSE are open!

Aspiring young athletes who meet criteria can now apply for the Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) programme.

The two-year DiSE programme has been designed to meet the needs of young people who have the realistic potential to achieve excellence in their chosen sport and are aiming to perform at the highest level. The course aims to equip young athletes with on and off-court skills, and experience a high-performance environment whilst achieving a NVQ (National Vocational Qualification).

GB Women’s Lucy Robinson commented on DiSE:
“DiSE enabled me to gain a more in depth knowledge of the game on and off the court. It was a great chance for me to learn and develop my basketball skills alongside my A-Levels, allowing me to add an A-level equivalent qualification to my University applications.”

Applicants must be:

  • Age 16-18 (on 01/09/2023)
  • Studying A-Levels or a BTEC Level 3 Qualification
  • Hold a British passport
  • Living in England (during term-time)
  • Member of an affiliated BWB Club

The deadline for applications is Sunday 30th July 2023. Find out more and apply today: https://britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/diploma-in-sporting-excellence-dise/

If you have any further questions or would like an informal conversation, please contact Ryan Raghoo, England & Wales Pathway Manager (r.raghoo@britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk)